This poem was originally published in The Asexual.
Some hard days he still walks
along the desiccated riverbed.
On the worst days, he bends down,
scoops up flecks of copper mud,
brings them to his lips when he yearns
for the taste of brackish water.
Few days are that hard now. More often,
he sucks on butterscotch or licorice,
leaning back in the rocking chair with
a dog-eared book and a flop-eared dog.
He listens to the wind in the grasses,
no longer drowned out by crying estuary.
His parents, both dentists, liked his
house better before the dam was built.
They live on a hill; they’ve never had days
when the house flooded, carrying their
vinyls and egg cartons out to sea.
They call him on the phone sometimes,
saying sternly that dams are unnatural.
He smiles and hangs up, only sad that
he can’t ask them for saltwater taffy